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Boogie Nights (1997) Poster

(1997)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Trademark (1)  | Spoilers (10)
After seeing a rough cut of the film, Burt Reynolds regretted making it. He fired his agent for recommending the role to him, and did not participate in promotional interviews. Reynolds ended up winning a Golden Globe for the role, and being nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Despite being a front runner for the latter, it was widely rumored that he did not win because he had distanced himself from the movie earlier.
Leonardo DiCaprio was originally offered the role of Eddie Adams. He liked the screenplay, but turned it down because he had already signed on to do Titanic (1997). DiCaprio suggested Mark Wahlberg for the role.
Amber Waves' custodial problems were inspired by porn star Veronica Hart, who plays the judge during the scene in which Amber and her husband are arguing in court about their son.
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Paul Thomas Anderson simulated the dialogue in the fake porn movies by adapting actual dialogue from real porn movies. He said he did it so people could not say the porn dialogue "sounded fake."
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Burt Reynolds hated the idea of doing a movie promoting the porn industry, and turned the Jack Horner role down seven times. He also felt like he was selling out, and letting his old fans down. After angrily telling Paul Thomas Anderson the last time offered he wasn't interested, and to leave him alone, Anderson told him if he could carry that attitude with him to the role, he would be nominated for an Oscar. He subsequently chose to do the film, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
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According to William H. Macy, his agent discouraged him from reading the script. Macy read the script, loved it, and signed on to do the film.
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Because of a negative experience with a studio changing his film's title, Paul Thomas Anderson incorporated "Boogie Nights" into the opening shot of the film as a physical sign.
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When he appeared on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), William H. Macy recalled that at the wrap party, Nina Hartley, who played his character's wife and who is a real-life porn star, gave all the cast gifts of her own porn films. Macy's present was a copy of Nina Hartley's Guide to Anal Sex (1996).
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Instead of following the template of having the characters change and be different people at the end of the film, Paul Thomas Anderson decided against it. "That doesn't really happen here," he told Indiewire in 1997. "Everybody is the same. Maybe if there's a change, it's like one degree. Normally you see a ninety-degree change in a movie. To me, they're all pretty much the exact same people as they were at the beginning of the movie."
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According to William H. Macy, the scene in which Dirk Diggler wins the Golden Phallus Award was filmed with about 100 extras who had shown up in their own 1970s clothes. They weren't told what kind of movie they were in, only that it featured Burt Reynolds. The crowd was told to applaud after Melora Walters announced Diggler as the winner. However, Walters then added the line "I can't wait to have his big c--k in my p---y and my a--", which was met with stunned silence. About half of the extras got up and left the set, never to return. Gathering a new group of extras in period clothing caused substantial delays, so when filming finally resumed, director Paul Thomas Anderson carefully explained the scene to the new crowd so that they knew what they were in for. Ironically, Walters is using a much more subdued line in the finished movie.
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After filming the devastating scene between Eddie Adams and his angry mother, Joanna Gleason was talking to Paul Thomas Anderson, and asked him if the material reflected the relationship between Anderson and his own mother. Anderson became very quiet, and did not answer the question. Gleason then put her hand on his shoulder and said "You don't have to forgive her."
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Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne originally refused to let the song "Livin' Thing" be used in the film because he has "a problem with sex and violence in movies." Lynne asked to see a screening of the film and loved it so much that he allowed the song to be used.
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In 1998, Cinemattractions asked Paul Thomas Anderson what he thought the film was about. "It's about finding a family, to tell you the truth," he said. "I know that sounds kinda preposterous, 'cause it's about porno! That's a really kinda weird thing, is that you want to say 'Well, it's about the pornography industry' and then you want to quickly say well, not really ... But I think ultimately, the thing that I really liked most and really focused on is, that it's about a lot of people searching for their dignity, and trying to find any kind of love and affection they can get, and they find it in really f--ked up and twisted ways-but they get it, you know?" But Anderson simplified the plot for Empire magazine: "It's about a guy with a big d--k."
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Paul Thomas Anderson had the role of Scotty with Philip Seymour Hoffman in mind. When Hoffman read the script, he was stunned to learn that the subject matter was porn.
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The prosthetic prop used for Dirk's penis was kept by Mark Wahlberg as a souvenir from the film. It was made from an easily biodegradable rubber and foam combination which, according to Wahlberg, has since begun to deteriorate.
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Mark Wahlberg originally didn't want to do the film after the high-profile failure of Showgirls (1995). He changed his mind after reading the script.
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Burt Reynolds said in a Maxim magazine interview that he researched his role by visiting porn sets and talking with real porn actors. He said the experience made him want to wear rubber gloves and take a shower afterward, and all the porn actors asked him how to get a Screen Actors Guild card.
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Rumors of plans for a "Boogie Nights 2" are false. Paul Thomas Anderson has stated that he does not do sequels.
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Before the film was finished, Paul Thomas Anderson sent a rough copy to New Line Cinema for the film's trailer. The movie was pirated and distributed before the official release. The pirated print includes many scenes not in the movie or DVD deleted scenes. Some were very explicit, and may have been deleted to avoid an NC-17 rating.
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Adult film star Nina Hartley, who plays William H. Macy's character's wife, brought him to an adult film set to prepare for his role.
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Heather Graham filmed her nude scene on her first day on the set.
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At one point, an angry Burt Reynolds threw a punch at Paul Thomas Anderson, because he felt that the director was disrespecting him. The film's first assistant director, John Wildermuth, tells this story: "Burt got so frustrated he pulled Paul outside into the backyard and started yelling at him, like a father, you know? 'You fuckin' little punk kid, don't tell me what to do.'" Tom Lenk added, "All of a sudden we saw fists flying. We saw some fists flying from Burt Reynolds. I hope I don't get in trouble for saying this, but it was like he was trying to punch our director in the face." Reynolds was also involved in a heated scuffle with Thomas Jane. In the DVD audio commentary, Anderson and Mark Wahlberg imply that Reynolds was on drugs during filming.
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Many 1970s porn stars and porn directors and producers criticized the film, saying it was inaccurate for the popularity Dirk achieved, and that filming porn was illegal in the late 1970s. One exception was Paul Thomas, a longtime adult film star who became the most successful and respected director in the business, on projects for Vivid Video. He judged the film "pretty accurate" outside of some general details.
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When Floyd Gondoli tries to pitch Jack on changing to video, The Colonel is laughing in the back of the shot. He starts right when Floyd describes his sexual turn-ons. Paul Thomas Anderson blurred the shot.
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Forty seconds of film were cut to reduce the original NC-17 rating to an R.
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Paul Thomas Anderson spent a year hanging out with Ron Jeremy to research the film. Ron Jeremy was originally going to have a cameo in the film that got cut, which entailed being in a prison cell with The Colonel. Jeremy told The Independent that during the film's production he invited Anderson and the cast to "a lot of my sets, but Burt Reynolds never came. He said, 'I know porn: I don't need to see that.'"
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Dirk Diggler's habit of preparing for his scenes in the bathroom is based on John Holmes, who said he liked to rehearse in bathrooms because "It's usually the only room in the house that has a lock on the door."
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The original oil painting of Dirk Diggler, featured in the party scene at Dirk's house, was sold on eBay in 2001 for $500.
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According to an interview with Paul Thomas Anderson, he and Burt Reynolds did not get along during filming. Anderson still planned to hire Reynolds for Magnolia (1999), but Reynolds became angry with Anderson during the film's promotional tour, and turned the role down.
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Joaquin Phoenix was offered the role of Eddie Adams, but turned it down due to concerns about playing a porn star. Phoenix would later collaborate with Paul Thomas Anderson in The Master (2012) and Inherent Vice (2014).
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Warren Beatty and Sydney Pollack were originally offered the role of Jack Horner. Pollack attended the film's premiere, and expressed regret for turning the role down.
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Samuel L. Jackson was offered the role of Buck Swope.
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Gwyneth Paltrow was originally offered the role of Rollergirl, but turned it down.
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While doing interviews to promote his memoir "But Enough About Me", Burt Reynolds said that he will probably never work with Paul Thomas Anderson again because, as he told GQ, "Personality-wise, we didn't fit. I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time that shot had ever been done. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights (1997), where I drive the car to Grauman's Theater. After that he said, 'Isn't that amazing?' And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn't original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best." Reynolds further claimed that Anderson offered him a part in Magnolia (1999), which he turned down. "I'd done my picture with Paul Thomas Anderson, that was enough for me," Reynolds said. (2015)
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When Dirk Diggler proposes the idea of a serial porn detective story to Jack, Dirk says, "I don't want to do stuff like Holmes is doing with his Johnny Wadd character, hitting women and stuff. That just ain't right." This leads the viewer to believe that Dirk and Holmes are rivals in the industry, not that Dirk is a direct representation of Holmes.
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Alfred Molina had never heard either "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield or "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger, songs he sings along to in the film. He is from the United Kingdom, where neither song had been a hit. He spent three days repeatedly playing them until he knew them.
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Burt Reynolds apparently did the first day's shooting as Jack Horner using an Irish accent. By the next day, he was back to sounding like himself.
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The entire film is based on the short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), also by Paul Thomas Anderson. It was a This Is Spinal Tap (1984)-like mockumentary, which would go on to be redone for the short "Dirk Diggler Story" in this film. In the original short film, Robert Ridgely, who plays The Colonel here, played Jack Horner. The man with whom Don Cheadle is talking in the stereo store is Michael Stein, who played Dirk Diggler. The original script was three hundred pages, cut down to one hundred eighty pages.
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Despite the fact that the movie shares the same name as Heatwave's 1977 funk-disco hit, the song "Boogie Nights" is not played anywhere in the film or included on the soundtrack. Heatwave's lead singer, Johnnie Wilder, Jr., a devout born-again Christian, refused to allow the song in the movie because he attested that the song was about dancing, not pornography.
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Features Burt Reynolds's only Oscar nominated performance.
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Little Bill's promiscuous wife is played by real-life porn star Nina Hartley.
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Paul Thomas Anderson used Exhausted: John C. Holmes, the Real Story (1981), a documentary about John Holmes, as a reference for some of the scenes in this film. Many interview scenes, including one where a strung-out Dirk tells the interviewer about how Jack allows him to block and edit his own sex scenes, are identical to the interviews in "Exhausted", especially one where a strung-out John Holmes, for no clear reason, lies about how director Bob Chinn allows him to block his own sex scenes.
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The character Johnny Doe's name is an homage to real-life porn actor Jon Dough.
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Whenever a 70's porno reel is shown, it was simply shot by projecting the reel onto a screen and then filming the screen with the 35mm camera. The same method was used for the 80's pornos by playing a tape with the porno on a TV, turning the lights in the room off, and then filming it with the 35mm camera.
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Marisa Tomei was offered the role of Amber Waves.
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On the film's DVD commentary, Paul Thomas Anderson said the main inspiration for the character of Amber Waves was pornographic actress Seka. Seka was involved with John Holmes, the person who inspired Dirk Diggler.
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The movie was banned in South Korea until 1999.
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Dirk and Reed record "You Got the Touch" at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys. This is the same studio where Rick Springfield recorded "Jessie's Girl" - later heard during the drug deal scene on Rahad's mix tape.
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Robert Ridgely's final film.
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While Paul Thomas Anderson intended to cast Melora Walters as Jessie St. Vincent, the studio wanted a bigger name for the part. He offered the role to Patricia Arquette, knowing she would decline, and the role ultimately went to Walters.
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Paul Thomas Anderson initially did not consider Heather Graham for the role of Rollergirl, because he had never seen her do nudity in a film. However, Graham's agent called Anderson asking if she could read for the part, which she won.
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Melora Walters' character, Jessie St. Vincent, is based on two real porn figures: actress Jesie St. James and producer Julia St. Vincent.
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Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, and Jack Nicholson turned down the role of Jack Horner.
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A picture of Elliott Gould appears in the background throughout the film, notably in the first shot of the X-rated film.
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Paul Thomas Anderson told National Public Radio he's not sure how he came up with the name Dirk Diggler, but for some reason he wrote the name down on an index card when he was seventeen years old. "I mean, I think a good porn name has to have two Gs in it. It just-it just looks good, and it sounds good for a good porn name, and you know, a K is pretty important, too. So you know, I wish I really knew, but it just kind of hit me like it hit him, I guess, like 'Dirk Diggler,' wow."
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Jack Black was considered for the role of Scotty J.
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After having a very difficult time getting his previous film, Hard Eight (1996) released, Paul Thomas Anderson laid down a hard law when getting this film made. He initially wanted the film to be over three hours long, and be rated NC-17. The film's producers, particularly Michael De Luca, said that the film had to be either under three hours or rated R. Anderson fought with them, saying that the film would not have a mainstream appeal no matter what. They did not change their minds, and Anderson chose the R rating as a challenge. Despite this, the film was still twenty minutes shorter than promised.
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The character Buck Swope is a nod to Putney Swope (1969), a film by Robert Downey, Sr., who played Burt in the film. That film was a satire on the New York Madison Avenue advertising world, where an African-American was appointed President of an ad company,
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The "Dirk" oil painting, originally sold in 2001 for $500, was re-sold by the owner, Ben Hove of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2017 for $3,000. This is the painting of the shirtless Dirk, with the blue background. The other Dirk painting from the movie, that shows Dirk with the colorful background, and wearing jeans, sold on the Heritage Auctions website in 2013 for $2,750.
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John Turturro turned down the role of Rahad Jackson.
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Dirk's first character is named John, a reference to real-life porn legend John Holmes, upon whom Dirk's character was based. Dirk mentions that he had just come back from the Marines. Holmes spent some time in the Army.
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The word 'fuck' and its derivatives are used 165 times in this film.
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Jason Lee turned down the role of Dirk Diggler.
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The firecracker scene was inspired by both Paul Thomas Anderson's father - who created a character named "Ghoulardi" for a Cleveland television show, on which he'd sometimes set off fireworks on-air - and Robert Downey, Sr.'s film Putney Swope (1969), where a character sets off a firecracker, and everyone turns and looks. Anderson called up Downey to praise the scene and to be the basis, to which Downey approved.
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Burt Reynolds thought so little of his Golden Globe for "Boogie Nights" he auctioned it off (along with other personal memorabilia) in 2014. The statuette sold for $21, 250.
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When Buck is selling stereos he refers to a "TK421" Modification. "TK421" was the designation of one of the stormtroopers Han and Luke attacked after sneaking onto the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
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In the long continuous shot where Little Bill (William H. Macy) talks with Kurt Longjohn (Ricky Jay), Macy flubbed his line by saying "my fucking wife has an ass in her cock in the driveway". Since Macy's character was supposed to be distraught in the scene, it felt like an honest mistake, and it was kept in the movie.
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Drew Barrymore and Tatum O'Neal were considered for Rollergirl.
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The donut shop, where Buck Swope encounters the robbery, is Miss Donuts on Sherman Way, between Lindley Avenue and Reseda Boulevard. Further down the street is a church that used to be a boxing ring and rock club. The nightclub exterior scenes were filmed there. The Reseda Theater, the nightclub, the church, the dirt parking lot, the donut shop, and the storefront where the kid gets beaten up, are all on Sherman Way, between Reseda and Lindley.
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Despite the movie being an artistic success with an enduring legacy, three of the main cast members had or still have a complicated relationship with it. Burt Reynolds had a strained report with director Paul Thomas Anderson during filming, and disliked the finished product so much that he refused Anderson's offer to be in his next film. He disavowed the movie until his death, and even sold off the Golden Globe that he won for it. Mark Wahlberg became a devoted Catholic and father in later years, and once stated in an interview that he hoped that God would forgive him for his poor career choices, with Boogie Nights being on top of the list. He later claimed to have been joking, but maintained that although he doesn't necessarily regrets being in the movie, he would not be able to explain doing such subject matter to his children any longer. Heather Graham didn't get any meaningful roles for over a year after Boogie Nights was released, and was seriously considering to accept a part in a softcore erotic movie. What saved her from a career in porn was an offer from Mike Myers to be in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Graham has since refused to answer any questions about Boogie Nights, or cooperate with a retrospective or cast reunion. Although Anderson frequently works with a group of dedicated actors, neither Reynolds, Wahlberg or Graham have worked with him again since.
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Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Ethan Hawke were all considered for the role of Dirk Diggler.
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Choreographer Adam Shankman taught the cast some popular 1970s dance steps.
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In one scene, Rollergirl listens to "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday on her headphones. The lead singer, Aimee Mann, is married to Michael Penn, who performed original music for the film, and appears briefly as a music producer for Dirk and Reed. Mann would later contribute her song "Save Me" to the soundtrack of Magnolia (1999), the next movie of director Paul Thomas Anderson who also directed the accompanying music video, Aimee Mann: Save Me (1999).
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The drink recipe for the Margarita that Reed Rothschild gives to Eddie Adams in the pool party scene is featured in the book 'Cocktails of the movies'.
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Set between 1977 and 1984. Among other things, Jack Horner calls Buck and Jessie's baby "an Olympic swimmer", and Dirk Diggler's outfit in the final scene is identical to the kind of clothes that Don Johnson wore on Miami Vice (1984).
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Alfred Molina wore noise-canceling earpieces to appear oblivious to the sound of the firecrackers. The involuntary flinching of the other actors in the scene at the noise was genuine.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman; and five Oscar nominees: John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, and William H. Macy.
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When Buck and his wife apply for a loan, it's made clear that "Swope" is his real last name.
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When Eddie Adams (AKA Dirk Diggler) tells Jack he's going a long way, he's not kidding. The distance between Torrance, CA and Reseda, CA is 33 miles. By public transportation, that would be a hour and a half.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The name of Burt Reynolds' character, Jack Horner, is a reference/homage to real life adult film actor Mike Horner.
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Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman have appeared in 6 films together including this one
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Sean Penn was considered for the role of Rahad Jackson.
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Jack Horner tells Kurt, "Switch the title card, I want it to come flying right out of the screen, right at the audience!" and Kurt replies "Nice! Piece of cake!" Kurt is played by Ricky Jay, an expert at magic and card tricks who makes playing cards fly across a stage with speed and accuracy.
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Vincent Gallo turned down the role of Dirk.
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Amber Waves has a child custody hearing with her ex husband played by musician John Doe who is the vocalist/bassist for the Los Angeles punk band, X.
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There are 15 Oscar nominations among the cast - Julianne Moore (6, including Boogie Nights), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (4), and one each for Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), John C. Reilly, (Chicago), William H. Macy (Fargo), Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) and Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights).
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Viewers expecting to see a more "bulked-up" muscular version of Mark Wahlberg, as in either his earlier "Marky Mark" music period, or his post 2000 bulkier physique, may be surprised how slim and toned he is in this film. Here he has a more conventional, for late 1970s-early 1980s, slim toned physique, although even then he may have too much muscle definition, for the period. Also, the film shows a slimmer version of John C Reilly, than his later films generally show him.
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Reed Rothchild mentions that people think he looks like Han Solo from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) early in the film. Burt Reynolds, who plays Jack Horner, turned down the role of Han Solo.
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During his attempt at a singing career, Dirk records a cover of "The Touch," which originally appeared in The Transformers: The Movie (1986) sung by Stan Bush. Mark Wahlberg would later appear in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).
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In the beginning of the movie when Jack Horner first notices Eddie, there are "stars" in the background.
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Laurel Holloman, who played Sheryl Lynn, screentested for the role of Roller Girl.
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Burt Reynolds played a character named Paul Anderson in an episode of Burn Notice (2007).
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Julianne Moore and William H Macy have both appeared in The Jurassic Park franchise
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Don Cheadle and Luis Guzmán would later appear in Traffic (2000).
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In Rahad Jacksons house there is a small red painting on the wall, a miniature copy of a famous Mark Rothko painting. Rahad Jackson is played by Alfred Molina who later played Mark Rothko in the Broadway play entitled Red.
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Eddie Adams officially becomes "Dirk Diggler" forty-four minutes into the film.
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This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd.
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Julianne Moore and William H. Macy were also both in Gus Van Santa's remake of Psycho (1998).
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In the end credits, "final re-recording" was done by the Saul Zaentz Film Center. Saul Zaentz for years was in a bitter legal battle with Creedence Clearwater Revival founder John Fogarty over rights and royalties to CCR's music.
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Heather Graham was in another movie with "Boogie" in the title, Boogie Woogie (2009).
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Buck Swope's ability as an actor is held in high regard by Jack Horner, but Buck is the only porn star in the cast who is not seen performing in an adult film.
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Director Trademark 

Paul Thomas Anderson: [long take] The opening scene is three minutes long, taken in a single camera shot, beginning in the street where Jack Horner and Amber Waves drive up and following them as they get out of the car and walk into a nightclub. Most of the characters are introduced in that shot.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

A group of teens at an early screening started cheering when Little Bill grabbed the gun. Paul Thomas Anderson was also at the screening, and felt that he had screwed up the entire scene. The teens kept on cheering when Macy's character killed his wife and her lover, then suddenly fell silent when Macy's character killed himself. That was the reaction Anderson wanted.
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At the end of the film, T. T. Rodriguez and his brothers' sign for the nightclub is misspelled as Rodriquez. This joke wasn't planned in advance. Paul Thomas Anderson misspelled Rodriguez in the screenplay, and decided to make the scene funny.
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The notorious murder-suicide scene was originally intended to be much more violent and graphic than what was shown.
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The sequence where Dirk, Reed, and Todd are at Rahad Jackson's house, an attempted scam involving drugs, a rich and violent man, and a robbery plot that turns into a scene of bloodshed, is a reference to the Wonderland murders that centered around John Holmes and gangster Eddie Nash.
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William H. Macy's character is loosely based on porn actor Cal Jammer. His girlfriend, Jill Kelly, was having a secret relationship with actress P.J. Sparxx and another with a male porn actor. Jammer later shot himself in the head on Kelly's front lawn.
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In a deleted scene, Dirk Diggler crashes his Corvette into a telephone booth. The scene was deleted because of time, but the car still remains wrecked when Dirk visits Rahad Jackson's house, drives away, and drives back to Jack's house. When Dirk and Reed are conspiring to rob Rahad's house, Dirk says, "That'll be enough to get the 'Vette fixed."
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According to the DVD commentary, Paul Thomas Anderson intended for further scenes involving Rahad Jackson. After the bloody attempted robbery of his home, the police arrive, and Rahad gathers his weapons, ready to go out in a blaze of gunfire.
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Originally, the scene in which Little Bill murders his wife and her lover included shots of the man and woman being struck by the bullets. It was cut as too disturbing.
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Body Count: nine. 1) The Colonel's 'lady friend' who over-doses at the party. 2) Little Bill. 3) Little Bill's wife. 4) Little Bill's wife's 'play mate'. 5) Todd Parker. 6) Rahad's body guard. 7) The Donut Store robber. 8) The Donut Store clerk. 9) The Donut Store armed citizen. In the 2-disc Director's Cut, Becky's husband also dies.
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In a deleted scene, or part of the original script, the colonel's young lady friend at the pool party, who ODd on cocaine, was revealed by another character, to have died in the limo on the way to the hospital.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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